How Hail Affects Residential Roof Shingles

How hail affects residential roof shingles

Hail damage is not always immediately noticeable. Hail impact can cause latent damage that may, over time, result in premature aging of shingle. Generally, damage can be seen as indentations and/or fractures on the shingles surface. Hailstones vary in size, shape, and hardness and can create a random pattern of dents or depressions. If this is not evident, look for indentations on metal flashing, siding, chimney caps, or even skylight flashings. Another factor that should be taken into consideration during a hailstorm is the angle that hail strikes your home. For example, hail that strikes at an angle rather than straight down will cause your home less damage.

The most common types of damage

  • Granule loss at points of impact, which may be accompanied by surface depression. Loss of mineral granules as an immediate or gradual consequence of storm damage can lead to the asphalt coating being directly exposed to the elements. This may lead to accelerated aging of the shingle. Therefore, granule loss is NOT just cosmetic damage, and “sugaring” — the process of adding loose granules to damaged shingles with asphalt cement — is not a permanent solution.
  • Cracks in the granule-asphalt surfacing, which may radiate outward from points of impact. Cracks may be present especially if high winds blew the shingles back.
  • Exposed fiberglass mat, where hail shattered the granule-asphalt surfacing causing it to break away from the fiberglass mat.
  • Fractured fiberglass mat, which may or may not be immediately visible. A fractured mat may result in tears radiating out from the points of impact. Furthermore, hidden damage to the mat may later develop into cracks and tears in time as the shingles age.
  • Loosening of the self-seal strip. This damage may or may not be immediately visible and may weaken the seal integrity, creating the possibility of future shingle blow-off.

What to do after a hail storm


  • Look for the smallest damaged areas – rain and wind can cause more damage to your roof after a hail storm and expose the asphalt underneath. That can cause it to dry out and water to leak into your home.
  • Check your gutters –  Make sure there are no big cracks, dents or bruises.


  • Inspect your shingles – hail damage has the ability to cause shingle failure, which means they won’t last as long as originally thought (which is typically 25 to 30 years). If you see any bruises, dents, and sometimes the damage is more than just cosmetic.

Here is some more resources and information on dealing with hail damage to your residential roof and gutters.

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